Psychotropics and challenging behaviour in people with an intellectual disability

Niki S Edwards, William Alexander and Allyson Mutch
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11258
Published online: 5 February 2014

To the Editor: Hilmer and Gnjidic drew attention to the pharmacological management of behavioural problems in nursing home residents, and called for a reduction in inappropriate prescribing and the development of alternative management strategies.1 We extend these concerns to another vulnerable population — people with intellectual disability. Historically, this population is one of the most medicated groups in modern society.

  • 1 School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Hilmer SN, Gnjidic D. Rethinking psychotropics in nursing homes. Med J Aust 2013; 198: 77. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Tsiouris JA, Kim SY, Brown WT, et al. Prevalence of psychotropic drug use in adults with intellectual disability: positive and negative findings from a large scale study. J Autism Dev Disord 2013; 43: 719-731.
  • 3. Deb S, Kwok H, Bertelli M, et al. International guide to prescribing psychotropic medication for the management of problem behaviours in adults with intellectual disabilities. World Psychiatry 2009; 8: 181-186.
  • 4. Tyrer P, Oliver-Africano PC, Ahmed Z, et al. Risperidone, haloperidol, and placebo in the treatment of aggressive challenging behaviour in patients with intellectual disability: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2008; 371: 57-63.
  • 5. Matson JL, Mahan S. Antipsychotic drug side effects for persons with intellectual disability. Res Dev Disabil 2010; 31: 1570-1576.


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